Tottenham (+177) vs Chelsea (+177), Draw (+240)
There will be no Cinderella story at the 2017 FA Cup with the field narrowed to four of England’s traditional powers. Before Arsenal and Man City clash on Sunday, the two top teams in the English Premier League will face each other in the other semi-final on Saturday (April 22nd) as Tottenham meets Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.
Chelsea were an unstoppable force most of the season and, for a while, it seemed that the title race was effectively over. But not anymore. After a rough few weeks from the Blues and a flawless month from Tottenham, the race for the league is back on. Tottenham are currently just four points short of Chelsea, but they have a tough road ahead. In the coming weeks, they’ll face defending champs Leicester City (twice), North-London rivals Arsenal, and Manchester United. Meanwhile, all of Chelsea’s crucial games are behind them.
Now is a great time for Chelsea to face some weaker competition. The Blues have lost two of four league games in April, including a stunning 2-1 home setback to 15th-place Crystal Palace. Before their two April losses, their last defeat was all the way back in early January. And that loss was at the hands of — wait for it — Tottenham!
The Spurs are currently on an eight-game winning streak and they’ve been demolishing opponents. Their last two games, against Watford and Bournemouth, both ended in 4-0 thrashings. However, we saw Tottenham looking very strong this time last year and we all remember how that turned out. (In case you don’t: they went 0-2-2 in their last four, limping to a third-place finish.)
Chelsea are licking their wounds after their recent 2-0 loss to Manchester United. Keeper Thibaut Courtois was forced to miss the game after he injured himself shooting a basketball commercial, and a handful of crucial players — Diego Costa, Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses, and Gary Cahill — were suffering from food poisoning. Luckily, they’re all expected to be match-ready by Saturday (though none have been ruled fit yet).
There are few teams that can match Chelsea’s professionalism under Antonio Conte and we’ll probably see the team back to its reliable, winning ways in no time. But the Spurs are playing incredibly at the moment and their head-to-head record against Chelsea is pretty even.
The bookmakers are calling it an even fight, and I agree. However, all the momentum is behind Tottenham at the moment and I think they stand a slightly better chance come Saturday.
Pick: Tottenham (+177)
Photo credit: Aleksandr Osipov [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0]
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